THIS YEAR IS NOT JUST any year for hunting and fishing.
For me, it’s the beginning of a new journey of conservation through hunting and fishing and a renewal for the love of the pursuit.
It’s easy, working in the outdoors business, to get worn out on certain things because, in my case, everything for the last 27 years involving fishing, hunting or wildlife has somehow related to my livelihood.
Most of you don’t work in the business but even in our own lives it can be challenging to keep that fire of enthusiasm lit for all things outdoors. Maybe you’ve lost friendships because of deer lease issues or, like me, had a family loss that meant losing your favorite hunting partner.
I challenge you to renew you love for the great outdoors this year and follow my path for renewal.
Sometimes we need to be alone.
And I am not talking about sitting away isolated in your house, reflecting on days gone by. I’m talking about alone in the great outdoors.
Take some time, maybe a full day or a weekend and go to some unfamiliar place in the great outdoors and just bask in the glory of the Creation.
I had an opportunity to do this while fishing a remote section of the Nueces River. I found myself wading far into a particular creek that was not only one of the most beautiful places I have seen in Texas but was loaded with sun perch, largemouth and Guadalupe bass.
I felt like a kid watching a red, white and blue bobber go under as I got bit every single cast for more than two hours and then even when the action slowed the scenery was intoxicating.
Go find such a place and hit the field. Don’t go to your familiar deer lease or the same old fishing hole. Find something new and I promise it will help renew-you.
I have lost 16 pounds this year (gradually) and have four more to go before I reach my goal. Most of it has to do with eating a lot better. For me it’s restricting carbs and eliminating most sugars. Find a good eating plan that benefits you, your medical condition and lifestyle.
I won’t sit here and recommend a bunch of exercises but I will recommend stretching. Being flexible is incredibly important in the great outdoors and is an area most of us never consider.
A more flexible body is less likely to get injured hiking in rough country or simply slinging corn sacks into a deer feeder. Additionally it will allow you to feel better about the outdoors experience.
I do the stretches from DDP Yoga and they help tremendously. I have stretched most days of my life since practicing Tae Kwon Do with Master David Howells back in the early 2000s and can outdo most of my friends by a long shot when it comes to flexibility. Figure out some safe stretches for you and get to it.
Practice does not make perfect but it can make you far more confident when that big buck walks out.
I will be practicing with my Matthew No Cam that was gifted to me by a good friend heavily by the time this story reaches you. I have big plans for archery season to not only hunt whitetail but I am planning on doing a lot of fall turkey hunting.
In Texas fall turkey hunting means shooting turkeys incidental to deer. I am heading out specifically for turkey and plan on bagging my birds with the Matthews No cam.
That means I will be shooting at a 3-D deer target as well as some cut outs I have of turkeys. They will be shot at various ranges and from challenging positions.
I also have designs on catching some Guadalupe bass with a fly rod and I am super rusty so I will be practicing with that at my friends pond.
And if I happen to catch a big bass in the process it will only make it that much better.
At the time of this writing I was getting ready to scout for some hogs on the Polaris Ranger XP 1000 EPS Back Country edition. It has been a blessing this spring and a reminder that a good ATV is a huge help in scouting.
Cruising backroad on deer leases, logging lanes and closely monitoring game cameras set out is much easier with an ATV.
But if you don’t have one and I am currently only testing one out (and haven’t had one in a few years) looking hard by foot is a must.
It is amazing what simply walking in the woods can teach you. Look for signs of the game you are pursuing whether it is the presence of early arriving teal on your favorite timber hole or whitetails on public land.
A hunter or fishermen that does not truly understand the wildlife the pursue is incomplete. You owe it to yourself to understand these creatures that bring us so much happiness through pursuit.
Reading books and studying journals helps but then taking to the field and applying that knowledge in person is what really makes the difference.
I did a lot with turkey this spring and learned a lot while on some hard hunts for eastern birds both in Texas and New York.
TF&G Hunting Editor Lou Marullo put me on a big, beautiful gobbler that came 350 yards down from us in a field and basically sat there for 30 minutes.
The calls intrigued the bird and were what brought it in but it was the combination of Marullo’s variety of calls that got it to come just close enough to see one of the decoys was set up in the breeding position.
Because of his scouting before I arrived he knew they were going at it pretty heavily and when the bird heard the right call and then got a glimpse of the hen decoy that looked ready for action he bolted in.
And it was to his detriment.
That reinforced the idea that wary turkeys need good audio and visual stimuli and learning that took study and field time.
Both of those are fun but field time has it beat by a long shot.
Get out there and get ready. There are things to learn and deer, dove, ducks, turkey, hogs, bass, crappie, trout and flounder to pursue.
—story by CHESTER MOORE